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About Kevin

Kevin Ewing is a natural resources lawyer who helps clients address challenges in “federal” Washington, D.C. He advises chiefly energy and infrastructure companies pursuing development projects, federal authorizations, or changes in agency policy, or responding to Executive Branch inquiries and enforcement. His clients are often involved in offshore exploration and development, natural gas and liquids pipelines, LNG, power transmission and specialty chemicals. Kevin also advises clients seeking material improvements in incident prevention, collaborating with experts in process safety, organizational change and cognitive science.

An area of special focus is environmental corporate disclosure, including shareholder demands and governmental inquiries (such as under the Martin Act) about climate change and hydraulic fracturing. Kevin also has broad experience representing specialty chemical manufacturers and technology innovators with respect to TSCA compliance, auditing, and enforcement defense.


Recent Notable Matters


Statoil Wind U.S. / Empire Wind — federal leasing and permitting for major wind development project offshore New York

Halliburton Energy Services, Inc. / Macondo — federal government investigations concerning the Macondo well control incident

Oilfield services and E&P companies — post-Macondo federal policy and regulatory developments affecting energy development; permitting and financial assurance requirements; liability and enforcement; federal land policies; and the requirements of NEPA and species protection

LNG developer and operator — federal safety requirements and governmental inspections for developing and operating LNG assets

Midstream energy companies — compliance support concerning pipeline safety, Presidential and other federal permitting,  jurisdictional issues for offshore and onshore gathering and transmission pipelines, and regulatory support in A&D

Project Development

Energy companies operating offshore — development risk analysis associated with numerous proposed and operating offshore and nearshore energy facilities in the Northeastern U.S., Mid-Atlantic, and Gulf of Mexico

Multiple LNG projects (import and export) — environmental aspects of LNG storage, regasification, and liquefaction projects, including siting, permit strategy, environmental impact assessment, and applications to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

Offshore LNG facility — defense of the Deepwater Port Act license (Gulf Restoration Network v. U.S. Department of Transportation, 452 F.3d 362 (5th Cir. 2006)

Pipeline developers and anchor shippers — permitting, environmental impact assessment, FERC environmental requirements and related litigation for inter- and intra-state natural gas and as appropriate for liquids pipelines

Urban developer — NEPA litigation defending against challenges to approvals by the Army Corps of Engineers and National Park Service for community redevelopment projects in southwestern Michigan

Corporate Disclosures

Publicly-traded energy companies — mandatory and voluntary disclosure to shareholders concerning environmental matters under Regulation S-K, and response to shareholder proxy proposals on environmental issues

Publicly-traded energy company — defense of Martin Act investigation concerning shareholder disclosure relating to climate change

Publicly-traded energy company — defense of Martin Act investigation concerning shareholder disclosure relating to hydraulic fracturing

Compliance Management and Enforcement

International chemical company — defense of a multimedia, federal-state criminal investigation under the Clean Water Act

Publicly-traded multinational company — redesign of the client's global environmental auditing system

Chemical import companies — compliance under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and federal pesticide laws (FIFRA), including the direction of companywide TSCA audits, and related regulatory compliance and policy analysis strategies, PMNs, SNUR/SNUNs, exemptions, nanotech approvals, pesticide labeling, and defense of civil enforcement proceedings

Publications and Speeches

Keynote Speaker, 10th IFI Operational Risk Management Forum, May 31, 2017

Co-author, "Pipeline Protest: The New Playbook," Pipeline & Gas Journal, May 2017.

Panelist, "Identifying and Assessing Emerging Risks," Western Reliability Summit, May 3, 2017.

Speaker, “Lessons in Risk Management Learned From Major Accidents,” April 27, 2017Co-author, "Analysis Of PHMSA's Proposal To Revise Volatility Regs For Crude Oil," Midstream Business, February 1, 2017.

"Protests, Policies, and Regulations — Impact on Pipeline Development," Platts Pipeline Development and Expansion Conference, Houston, September 29, 2016.

"Wyoming Federal Judge Sides with States Industry, Strikes Down BLM Hydraulic Fracturing Rule," Oil & Gas Financial Journal, July 15, 2016.

"Climate Disclosure - Trends and Drivers," The American Gas Association's 2016 Legal Forum, Asheville, NC, July 11, 2016.

"Getting New Oil and Gas Production to Market - Regulation and Legal Challenges to Infrastructure Development," Association of Corporate Counsel South/Central Texas Chapter's Oil & Gas Law Lunch and Learn, San Antonio, April 28, 2016.

"What to Expect in the Event of an Oil Spill or Other Significant Offshore Incident or Catastrophe," The Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation's Special Institute on Federal Offshore Regulatory Enforcement, Houston, January 21, 2016.

"Pipelines and Marine Transport — Moving North American Gas and LNG," Platts 14th Annual Liquefied Natural Gas Conference, Houston, February 26, 2015.

"Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, Fukushima: Lessons Learned and Being Learned," Annual Conference of the International Bar Association, Tokyo, October 19, 2014.

"A Review and Discussion on Hydraulic Fracturing and the Regulation of Hydraulic Fracturing," Institute for Energy Law 65th Annual Oil & Gas Law Conference, Houston, February 19, 2014.

"Major Incident and Crisis Management - Strategies for Response in the Public Eye," Bracewell Oil & Gas Regulatory Symposium, Houston, TX, October 9, 2013.

Instructor, "Developing Oil & Gas in the Gulf of Mexico: A Perspective from Washington," intensive semi-annual legal training for a large international energy company (2011, 2012, 2013).

"Pipeline Opposition - New Strategies Being Used to Slow and Stop Projects," Platts 8th Annual Pipeline Development & Expansion Conference, Houston, TX, September 18, 2013.




University of Heidelberg,
Master of Law
Georgetown University Law Center,
Yale University,
Bachelor of Arts
cum laude

Bar Admissions

District of Columbia




Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment
Past Chair, Advisory Council
Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs
Former Member, Board of Directors
Decatur House of the National Trust for Historic Preservation
Former Member, Board of Directors



The case against Big Oil

June 12, 2016
Houston Chronicle Online/chron.com

Are Big Oil lawsuits echoing the ones against Big Tobacco?

June 11, 2016
San Francisco Chronicle Online

Expansive new mitigation requirements

January 12, 2016
Oil & Gas Financial Journal

FWS plan could have negative impact on development projects

April 1, 2013
Oil & Gas Financial Journal - Online

Nations meet to keep Caribbean clean amid oil quest

September 11, 2012
Houston Chronicle - Washington Bureau

Environmental groups sue over Shell offshore plan

June 10, 2011
Houston Chronicle Online/chron.com



FERC Staff Issues New Guidelines on Cultural Resources

August 7, 2017

On July 31, 2017, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) staff issued new Guidelines for Reporting on Cultural Resources Investigations for Natural Gas Projects. The new guidelines include changes of potential interest and significance to developers (“project sponsors”). In addition to changes in the organization of reports and documents, the guidelines define more detailed expectations for project sponsors, particularly concerning engagement with tribes. It remains to be seen whether the changes lead to improved dialogue with tribes on cultural resources, or more divergence in...

In Line With Recent Precedent, Trump Administration Directs Federal Agencies to Halt New Regulations

January 25, 2017

As expected, one of President Trump’s first actions after being sworn in to office was to issue a memorandum outlining his administration’s plans for managing new or pending federal regulations. As shown in the Table below, the memorandum from President Trump’s Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus, to the heads of executive departments and agencies falls generally in line with the initial actions of several recent new Presidents, from Reagan to Obama. With a goal of allowing those in the Trump Administration an opportunity to review midnight regulations, the memorandum orders federal agencies to,...

PHMSA Proposes Plans to Revise Volatility Standard for the Transport of Crude Oil

January 18, 2017

Today, PHMSA released an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM), announcing that it is considering revising the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) to establish vapor pressure limits for the transportation of crude oil and potentially all Class 3 flammable liquid hazardous materials. The ANPRM is in response to a petition for rulemaking from the New York Attorney General that requested PHMSA establish a nationwide vapor pressure standard for the transportation of crude oil by rail. Going beyond the scope of the NY AG’s petition, the ANPRM asks stakeholders whether any future...

Obama Bans Drilling Offshore Atlantic, Arctic – But For How Long?

December 21, 2016

With a new President on the White House doorstep, President Obama has announced a ban – ostensibly permanent – on offshore oil and gas drilling in federal waters along the Eastern seaboard and offshore Alaska. President Obama appears to be relying upon a seldom-used provision of the 1953 Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (“OCSLA”) 43 U.S.C. §§ 1331 et seq.), which allows the President to withdraw any “unleased lands of the outer Continental Shelf.” Whether the ban proves permanent is likely to be tested politically and legally, as the Trump Administration takes office alongside a Republican-...

Federal Report Identifies New Criteria for Underground Gas Storage Facilities

October 20, 2016

On October 19, a federal task force released a Final Report outlining recommendations for industry and government in the wake of the 2015 natural gas leak at Aliso Canyon in southern California. The Interagency Task Force on Natural Gas Storage Safety (“Task Force”), created by Congress in the Protecting our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety (PIPES) Act of 2016 , convened to analyze the Aliso Canyon incident and to recommend ways to reduce the likelihood of future leaks from underground natural gas storage facilities. The Final Report sets out 44 recommendations for industry...

PHMSA Releases Civil Penalty Policy Framework, Sets its Sight on Higher Penalties “Across the Board”

October 18, 2016

This week, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) released a General Policy Statement announcing its intent to make available to the public a Civil Penalty Policy Framework. Previously only available by request, the civil penalty framework provides insight into the factors PHMSA considers and the ranges of proposed penalties that the agency might issue in civil enforcement cases. Now, PHMSA will maintain the penalty framework on the agency’s website in an effort to provide “greater transparency” to operators and the public during the civil enforcement process...

PHMSA Implements New Emergency Safety Authority Effective Immediately

October 10, 2016

On October 3, 2016, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) announced an Interim Final Rule (IFR) establishing when and how it will issue Emergency Orders to address imminent safety hazards across the oil and gas pipeline industry. See Pipeline Safety: Enhanced Emergency Order Procedures (Docket No. PHMSA-2016-0091). The new procedure allows PHMSA to impose restrictions, prohibitions, and safety measures without prior notice or an opportunity for a hearing. These measures can apply through all or part of the industry, not just to individual facilities or operators...

Wyoming Federal Judge Sides With States and Industry, Strikes Down BLM Hydraulic Fracturing Rule

June 29, 2016

On June 21, 2016, the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming struck down the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM’s) hydraulic fracturing regulations, finding that BLM “lacked Congressional authority to promulgate the regulations.” This decision is a win for industry and states’ rights, setting aside a federal rule that is unnecessarily duplicative, burdensome and beyond the scope of BLM’s statutory authority. This is yet another setback for the Obama Administration’s second term regulatory push, as previous industry challenges have resulted in the stay of other major new regulatory...

Obama Administration Adopts Wide-Ranging Natural Resource Mitigation Requirements

Earlier today, the Obama Administration adopted an expansive set of mitigation requirements for all its natural resource management agencies. Under the voluntary policy, the Department of Defense, Department of the Interior, Department of Agriculture, Environmental Protection Agency, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will aim "to avoid and then minimize harmful effects to land, water, wildlife, and other ecological resources (natural resources) caused by land- or water-disturbing activities, and to ensure that any remaining harmful effects" are effectively mitigated. The...

Major Air Enforcement Action Against New Plant Owner Suggests the Value of EPA's "New Owner Audit Policy"

A new $1.3 million Clean Air Act penalty action by U.S. EPA and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality against AK Steel Corporation has received significant public and media attention this week. The proposed consent decree, filed with the court and opened for public comment on May 19th, includes significant cash penalties and supplemental environmental project requirements, along with burdensome obligations to establish an environmental management system, perform third party audits, and install costly new pollution controls. Less often mentioned in this week's stories about the...

Courts Affirm Limits on Scope of Environmental Review

Ruling on a pipeline project and a mine project, two different federal courts issued decisions Monday affirming limits on the scope of environmental review. The pipeline case was a challenge to Enbridge's Flanagan South pipeline, designed to transport tar sands crude from Illinois to Oklahoma. The mine case involved Raven Crest Contracting's Boone North No. 5 coal mine in West Virginia. Neither decision breaks new ground; their significance lies in reaffirming that NEPA analysis should be confined to the scope of the federal agencies' control over the project in question. These cases...

Supreme Court to Determine Whether Agencies Must Undergo Notice and Comment Prior to Changing an Interpretation

June 16, 2014

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case that could have far-ranging implications for agency proclamations that impact the business community. On Monday, June 16, 2014, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in Nickols v. Mortgage Bankers Assoc. , No. 13-1052. The Supreme Court will address "[w]hether agencies subject to the Administrative Procedure Act are categorically prohibited from revising their interpretative rules unless such revisions are made through notice-and-comment rulemaking." Interpretative rules (also called interpretive rules) are those that "simply state[] what the...

Oklahoma Enters the Fray of Endangered Species Sue-and-Settle

On March 17, 2014, the State of Oklahoma sued the U.S. Department of the Interior, taking aim at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's habit of settling large Endangered Species Act cases with Environmental Non-Governmental Organizations. The lawsuit signals an important escalation in the fight against such settlements. ESA lawsuits have become a key tool to prevent or delay project development activities, including in the oil and gas industry. Over the last several years, FWS has repeatedly settled NGO lawsuits with consent agreements in which FWS commits to prioritize the NGOs' chosen...

Coast Guard Looks to Expand Safety and Environmental Management Systems to Vessels on the OCS

September 18, 2013

On September 10, 2013, the U.S. Coast Guard published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (APNRM) in the Federal Register stating its intent to propose regulations that will require vessels engaged in exploration, development or production activities on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) to develop, implement, and maintain a vessel-specific Safety and Environmental Management System (SEMS). The proposed rulemaking would be far-reaching as the Coast Guard estimates that approximately 2,200 foreign and domestic vessels engaged in OCS activities could be affected by this regulatory action,...

EPA Issues Final Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule

September 30, 2009

EPA's new GHG Inventory Rule is now final and will require prompt attention by many business sectors to help ensure compliance effective January 2010. The rule establishes the most sweeping monitoring and reporting regime in memory and will serve as the basis for future policies and legislation aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Companies and large institutions need to assess the rule applicability on a facility-by-facility basis and, if applicable, will need to integrate the new requirements into existing environmental management systems and budgets.

Apex Oil: Environmental Cleanup Liability Survives Bankruptcy

September 22, 2009

In U.S. v. Apex Oil , a three-judge panel of the Seventh Circuit ruled 3-0 that EPA's cleanup injunction against the corporate successor to a chemical company was not discharged in Chapter 11 because the injunction does not create a right to payment and, consequently, is not a "˜debt' under the Bankruptcy Code. In essence, Apex had argued that the injunction would require the company to incur costs upward of $150 million and that the purpose of the restructuring would be defeated if these costs had to be incurred. Judge Posner's opinion turns on the fact that the order required cleanup and...



Chambers USA
District of Columbia Environment, 2017
The Legal 500 United States
Energy Regulatory: Oil and Gas, 2017; Environment: Litigation, 2017; Energy: Regulatory, 2016
Portfolio Media, Inc.
MVP of the Year: Environmental, 2017
ALM Media Properties
National Law Journal
ALM Media Properties, LLC, National Law Journal, Energy & Environmental Trailblazer, 2017
Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment
Champion Award